U.S.: We Expect Next Israeli Government to Be Committed to Two-state Solution

State Department's statements follow Netanyahu's backtracking from his 2009 speech, in which he committed to concessions and withdrawals from Palestinian territory.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivering his speech at Bar-Ilan University in 2009.Credit: Michael Kramer

The American administration expects that the Israeli government formed after next week's elections will be committed to the two-state solution, State Department spokesman Jen Psaki told reporters in a daily briefing on Monday.

"Our commitment to achieving an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict hasn’t changed. We count on having Israeli and Palestinian partners who are also committed to that," Psaki said. "A lot of things are said during election campaign. We will see what happens in the elections and we will see the policy of the new governmentWe want partners who want to pursue this."

Psaki's remarks followed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's backtracking from the commitments made in his June 2009 "Bar-Ilan speech" regarding concessions and withdrawals from Palestinian territory.

The Likud wrote in a published statement on Sunday: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that [in light of] the situation that has arisen in the Middle East, any evacuated territory would fall into the hands of Islamic extremism and terror organizations supported by Iran. Therefore, there will be no concessions or withdrawals; they are simply irrelevant." 

Later on Sunday, the Prime Minister's Office clarified Netanyahu's stance to this regard: "Prime Minister Netanyahu has made clear for years that given the current conditions in the Middle East, any territory that is given will be seized by the radical Islam just like what happened Gaza and in southern Lebanon," the PMO said in a statement, adding that such a scenario is particularly likely "in a reality in which the Palestinian Authority is in an alliance with the Hamas terrorist organization."

On January 6, Netanyahu commented on the Bar-Ilan speech in an interview with Amit Segal and Yonit Levi on Channel 2. Netanyahu said then that the Bar-Ilan speech was still relevant, "but that the Palestinians have emptied it of any relevance," by pursuing unilateral action in the International Criminal Court in The Hague. "The conditions that they currently want make it simply irrelevant," said Netanyahu then, adding, "there is no partner for peace."